The Museum of Archaeology in Sperlonga
During the 1950’s a new coast road was being constructed near to Sperlonga, it is called the Via Flacca. During excavation work in 1957 the remains of a Roman settlement were unearthed. Also discovered were fragments of Roman sculptures in the area of the cave. It is believed that these colossal statues once adorned the man-made fishponds at the mouth of the Grotto of Tiberius. These remarkable tableaux of sculptures date from the 2nd century BC. The statues depict legendary scenes taken from Homer’s “Adventures of Odysseus” or Virgil’s “Aeneid” and the hero Ulysses. Many of these mythological works of art have been painstakingly reconstructed in plaster and resin. The National Museum of Archaeology of Sperlonga was opened in 1963 to house these interesting exhibits.
These groups of sculptures include: the horrific attack of Odysseus’ ship by the terrifying sea monster Scylla who devouring several of the crew members. Diomedes and Odysseus stealing the Palladion (a sacred wooden statue) whilst Troy was under attack by the Greeks. Odysseus lifting and carrying the corpse of the warrior Achilles who had been killed by a wound to his vulnerable heel which had been delivered by a poisoned arrow . The most stunning group of colossal statues depicts the Blinding of the drunken Cyclops Polyphemus by Odysseus and three of his companions, who drove a burning staff into the giant’s eye.
The Blinding of the drunken Cyclops Polyphemus, the one-eyed giant.
The sea-monster, the Scylla, attacking the ship of Odysseus.
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All other photos © Louise Shapcott